The American hip hop industry suddenly seems to be acutely aware of the importance of a god in their lives - and many are professing their faith in Jesus Christ as a strong influence, if not the main reason they exist. It is an exciting time in music.
Tops on this list, naturally, is the Kanye West original, Jesus Walks. This groundbreaking rap song peaked in the top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100, quite a feat, given the content of the track. West was recently given a nomination for best gospel rap album in the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy's upcoming awards show, a bestowed honor questioned by several in the gospel industry. Regardless of whether West will be given the award, that secular musicians are starting to pursue the possibility of a Higher Being playing an integral role in their success is something altogether unprecedented.
The return of Mase is another phenomenon. The one-time chart-topping rapper left the music industry in 1999 to become a minister (!), a calling to which fellow musicians DMX and R. Kelly are not completely averse. His return is punctuated by a new album, out August 24th, that featured clean lyrics.
Several articles have been written on this, but I think contextualizing it in the Philippine setting will make it even more interesting, because there are rock bands and hip hop gospel artists in the Philippines. I will undoubtedly make an article on this for the magazine in the December issue. I've written the homies at Roc-afella asking for an interview, so prayers are requested, that the major playas will be down with my request for the 411. [Lord, I am soooooo white!]